By Isaac Chandler
February 20, 2020
We’re approaching the halfway point of the 2020 Spring Split and the competition is closer than even beyond the two outliers in the still undefeated Cloud9 and the single-win CLG as of LCS Spring Split Week 4. With only two wins separating the second-place team from the ninth, this upcoming Week 5 will be even more important for teams trying to separate themselves from the pack and make headway towards a secure spot in the playoffs.
Who showed up this past week? Who looks set to go on that run to get a top seed? Let’s break down the performances from all 10 teams in our LCS Spring Split Week 4 recap and how they stacked up against the competition.
While Evil Geniuses took another 1-1 week, they at least have something to be proud of going into Week 5. The team managed to handily stomp the No. 2 team in the league, Immortals and put an end to Zven’s quest for an over 100 KDA on Cloud9.
On the downside, the team continues to operate on what appears to be a coin flip system as to whether they show up on a given day or not. While Jiizuke has positioned himself as a linchpin in the team’s successes, the team often finds itself struggling to succeed if he isn’t popping off. The rest of the roster acts similarly.
Svenskeren can go from 1/0/9 in a win to 1/8/3 in a loss overnight and currently sits with the worst KDA among junglers in the league at 1.85. Top laner Kumo also sits dead last for his role at a 1.59 KDA, and with only a 42.2% KPA. He finds most of his deaths coming from solo fights and ganks on the top side and putting in very low impact elsewhere on the map.
The team has matches against the much weakened but always dangerous Team Liquid this weekend and currently third-place team TSM as well. Another 1-1 weekend is looking on the cards for EG unless they get lucky on the coin flip. Likely, it will be a foreseeable future, too, unless they can find some stability in their play.
Counter Logic Gaming is currently sitting at 1-7 and looking like the absolute worst team in the league. The team’s coordination has been abysmal, even in games like their match against Golden Guardians. They managed to put up some kills they’re failing on most objective control, with the team only managing to grab three dragons and two turrets in that game, most of which came, like the kills, in the last five minutes of the game.
Crown failed to live up to the expectations and struggles from Ruin and regression by Wiggily suggests to me that this is more than just a player problem, but a coaching and support staff one as well. SSONG struggled to be successful as a coach since his days on IMT, despite countless different rosters and organizations he’s been with. He had a single deep run into the playoffs since then with TSM in 2018.
While Biofrost was a key part of the team’s success last year, his and PowerOfEvil’s departure still left a strong core the team should’ve built around to get back into their top three form from last split, and their failure to do so speaks volumes to the behind the scenes problems this team is facing.
With Pobelter replacing Crown, the team is at a desperation point and scrambling to get back into the playoff running. Though whether or not they succeed, only time will tell. They’ve got matches against Cloud9 and FlyQuest this week, two of the top teams in the league. It’s going to be an insanely difficult task for them to start their second-half campaign with.
This is CLG, however, and seeing them take C9 or FLY down wouldn’t be a surprise. So, there is a possibility they can take one of them down this weekend before failing to pick up a win for the rest of the split. Given just how bad they’ve looked in every facet, however, I don’t see that happening. They’re looking at 0-2 week yet again to put them at 1-9.
We’ve had teams come back from the brink before, but CLG looks so bad. I think it’s best the team starts trying to wring as much as they can out of this split and begin preparing for a comeback campaign for summer because an 0-2 here could honestly mark the end of their hopes for this split.
We said last week that 100 Thieves had the potential to go 0-2 this weekend if Meteos and Ssumday didn’t show up, and boy did that prediction come out true.
While Metos looked okay in their game against Dignitas, he looked completely lost against FlyQuest, most noticeable in his and Ssumdays terrible dive onto a full health Ornn top side that cost Meteos his life. While that may have just have been a one-off death, it seemed to affect his mind for the rest of the match. The team managed to secure a single objective, the top side outer tower, for the rest of the game.
Ryoma’s also been problematic with his seemingly limited champion pool. He has the lowest unique champions picked of all mid laners, and is limiting his team’s pick and ban capabilities. In contrast, Stunt has found himself caught out either mispositioned or engaging without his team constantly, something you should see happen when you’re playing the likes of Rakan or Nautilus. The hopes of this roster coming together with many of the original members returning get dimmer by the day.
Unless Meteos and Ssumday can find their old forms again, I don’t think they’ll find themselves sitting in the playoffs, at least for the six-man one this spring. The team may want to look into bringing in some of their Academy players to see if that gives their starting line-up a boost. But, I’m not sure if anyone beyond Contractz on that squad is ready or could be an upgrade over their LCS counterparts at this point.
They’re still tied for seventh right now and are only one game out of the playoff picture. So, there is still a chance they can make it, but it’s going to be a lot of work before we can confidently say they’re going to have much of a chance. They’ve got games against a TSM that went 0-2 last week and a surprisingly improved Golden Guardians this week. There is a chance of a win here if they pull off some solid performances, but their poor showing in jungle and mid have us doubting it, so 0-2 for the week is the prediction.
All the team’s talk of Keith adapting well to the support role seemed to come true this past week finally. The team put together their first 2-0 weekend this split off the backs of strong performances from him and FBI. The duo put up some solid performances this weekend against Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming and looked like a competitive bot lane for the team, a problem they’ve been struggling with since the splits start. Hook champs are seeming to be Keith’s flavor of choice in the role, with another set of picks of Thresh and Nautilus for him. FBI took the carry role to heart and ran an 8-1-10 scoreline across both games.
It wasn’t the only side of the map doing well, though. Goldenglue and Hauntzer found themselves in the solo lanes and Closer continued his run as one of the league’s top junglers. It seems like things are finally starting to click for GGS, and not a moment too soon. We begin heading towards the back half of the split for the league, with the team seriously looking like they could push for a solid spot in the playoffs.
The team will have to take on the current second-place team in FlyQuest to open the week out and officially end their first half. A match Sunday against the floundering 100 Thieves should provide a much-needed win either way for the squad. The FLY match will be a good test for the team to see how much they’ve improved so far, and an even better time to find out what weaknesses they need to start working to shore up. I’m predicting a 1-1 weekend for the team as I don’t see FBI and Keith being quite ready yet to take on WildTurtle and IgNar, but 100 Thieves should be no match for the Guardians in their current state.
Dignitas finally managed to stop the bleeding temporarily Saturday after taking down 100 Thieves before falling again to Golden Guardians rather harshly, only managing to get one dragon and two turrets beyond their four kills in the game. Early game issues continue to plague this team. While Froggen held his team in the game for longer than they really should have been in it with a beautiful shockwave helping them take out Goldenglue, they couldn’t get through Hauntzer’s Ornn to reach the backline and FBI’s Aphelios.
With their match against 100 Thieves looking a bit too close for comfort most of the game, DIG couldn’t generate over a 2k gold lead or a real objective lead until the 25-minute mark. It’s not looking good going into the back half of the split for the team, only made better by the fact that two of their next four matches are against two of the weakest teams in the league.
The team struggles to get things going in the early game, with the second-lowest Early Game Rating (EGR) amongst teams in the league, while having an above-average mid game and a much better late game, showing that they’re at their best when they’re allowed to sit back and scale. You see this a lot in their comps with a lot of late-game picks like Gangplank, Vel’Koz, Viktor, and other champs who need time to build up items for fights, which should suit them in this meta given how reliant it is on ADC’s and tanks. The issue lies in just how weak their early game is, resulting in them often giving away such big leads to their opponents that they can’t recover from in time, even with scaling comps.
The buffs to tanks like Ornn and immolation items should help drag the game out a bit and buff their play as teams look to go for more scaling, but that’s going to be another week out before that patch hits live. With matches against Immortals and a finally fully-formed Team Liquid this, I think they’ll still manage to find some solid wins given how bad the latter looks and how late IMT likes to drag out games. A 2-0 should be in the cards for DIG if they play their hand right. That’s a big if right now, though, and will be entirely dependent on whether they can recover their mental state from the 1-4 record they’ve found themselves in over the last two and a half weeks.
TSM walked into Week 4 looking like the second-best team in the league after a 4-0 run following their 0-2 start, possibly even a contender to challenger Cloud9’s absolute domination of the league. After a failed early play by Blaber cost C9 two kills, it looked like TSM could have a win on the only undefeated team in the league on their hands. Still, a failed gank bottom side and a bad fight near Rift Herald gave away the entire advantage the team had. Things only got worse as the matched progress. At one point four members of TSM were held off by Vulcans lone Tahm Kench, and while they found a couple kills on Nisqy’s Qiyana, they couldn’t get more than a single kill in any of the teamfights.
Game 2 looked a lot better for the squad as they took an early lead over FlyQuest and plowed it to a 9,000-gold advantage and a downed inhibitor by the 32:36 mark. While they had given over three drakes to FLY throughout the game, it seemed only inevitable that TSM would close the game out and secure their place tied at the top with IMT for second.
It wasn’t to be, however, as a botched fight around the Mountain Drake cost them the Mountain Soul and four members of the squad, giving FLY an avenue back into the game as they spun the win there over toward a mid-inhibitor. While TSM managed to get a Baron afterward, they never managed to regain the strong position they had, and shortly after fell as a botched fight near the Elder Drake cost the team the game and their second 0-2 week of the split.
Bjergsen looked really out of form this weekend, especially in the first game. He failed to turn his early lead with Renekton into anything major and was more a minor inconvenience for C9 in fights than an actual threat and getting caught out several times away from his team. They did lose to two of the top teams in the league, so nothing to really be ashamed of. Throwing that early kill lead over C9 so hard and a 9,000 gold lead against FLY is not a good look to see for this squad, especially as their mid and late game is looking rather weak in the league (the team has the third-worst mid game of all teams in the LCS).
With matches against the rather weak 100T and EG this weekend, the team will have an excellent chance to work on improving that without too much worry this weekend. However, a win over EG will be much needed to avoid an 0-2 record for potential playoff tiebreakers later this split.
I think the team will go 2-0 this weekend if they clean up their act and put Bjerg on some actual carry mid laners like Syndra or Leblanc.
It looked a little dicey for Cloud9 early on against TSM. The team gave over two early kills to Bjergsen’s Renekton. Fans held their breath as fears rose. The team would see its first loss of the season. Those fears quickly dissipated. The team roared back with a series of good plays around the bottom side and Rift Herald before proceeding to dumpster TSM in every teamfight they came across.
Nisqy died quite a bit this match, but always making a big play for his team in the process and honestly making the deaths worthwhile. Ballooning the lead to 13,000 gold and a 12-kill lead before closing the game just past 25 minutes is a great thing to see for the squad, showing they can play from early deficits and still come out looking amazing in games. The early mistake looked like just a comm error, so nothing too serious to worry about. It only happened once this weekend and can be fixed as the team continues to get more comfortable with each other.
The EG game, meanwhile, was an absolute stomp by C9 over many of their former team members. Zven’s 100 KDA quest appeared to be at an end when he hung around a bit too long without realizing Jiizuke’s Flash was up. The team surely was willing to trade that record chance for a relatively easy win, preventing EG from taking a single objective in their just under 30-minute win.
The team is by far and away from the best team in the league right now. While we’ll need to see how they handle meta shifts in the coming weeks, they’re looking almost unstoppable at this point. I’m a little worried for this weekend’s match for them, given how CLG is historically known for beating the top team in the league when they really shouldn’t. The gap is looking so vast between the two right now. I’m not sure if CLG can pull an upset off again this time.
With a follow-up match against number two IMT, it could be a harder weekend for C9 than it initially looks on paper. I still think they’ll walk away with the 2-0 to enter the second half of the split 10-0. If they can get past this cleanly, I think there’s a strong chance this team locks up the top spot in the playoffs within the next two weeks of play, the earliest we’ve ever seen a team lock it up.
Broxah’s finally here for Team Liquid after three weeks of waiting. While he’s surely going to help Liquid finally get into their final form by the end of the split, this weekend was set-up to be a write-off for the team.
With only a couple hours of practice and jet lag for Broxah, much of the play mistakes he made this weekend are easily forgivable given they began to decline by the end of the second game rapidly. However, the rest of TL is still looking rough.
They got run over by IMT in their first game this weekend, with only a single kill to Jensen to show for their troubles, though they managed to secure several turrets and drakes. The bottom side of Doublelift and CoreJJ is looking completely outclassed by any team not named CLG’s. While they did put up a strong showing against that squad, you expect a lot more from the arguably strongest ADC and support in the league before the start of the season.
With a full week of practice under their belt with Broxah now and matches against the struggling EG and Dignitas for this weekend, it’s time for Liquid to kick it into high gear and start putting some wins up on the board if they want to get out of the cellar they’ve found themselves in. A 2-0 weekend is going to be a must heading into the second half of the split if they want to lower their odds of missing the playoffs.
I think the team can pull out a win over DIG given how much that team is struggling in the early and mid-game. But, I think their bottom lane is going to struggle to handle EG’s in its current form, and if Jiizuke pops off again, the match will be as good as over for TL.
Given DIG already holds a victory over TL in hand, the team needs to put extra focus on that match to prevent the 2-0 head to head and tiebreaker loss for playoffs at the end of the split. I could see them not properly preparing for the match against EG as much as they should, so I give them a 1-1 record for this weekend.
FlyQuest fans were looking a bit after their 0-2 weekend in Week 3. The first match against TSM had many fearing the team would enter a slide with a third straight loss to open Week 4. TSM got off to a 9,000 gold lead by 30 minutes to seemingly put the win in the bag for the team, until that fight near the Mountain Drake gave FlyQuest a 4k and a way back into the match.
Their comeback victory was nothing short of impressive from the FLY roster. It shows they’re maturing as a team avoiding tilting in even desperate situations and keeping their cool until the victory is secured. The stomp against 100T proved they’ve got what it takes to close games with leads out fast too, and secured FLY a return to the top side of the table as they tied with IMT for second place to close out the week.
While they still look like no match for C9 given Week 3’s results, they’re one of the top teams in the league right now. They will have a chance to gain sole possession of second place this weekend as they take on Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming to enter the second half of the split.
Golden Guardians have looked much better these past two weeks and could pose a serious threat to FLY, but CLG’s poor performance and a sure focus on beating the top team in the league should leave them unprepared and easy pickings for the team. It should be a 2-0 week for FlyQuest and a nice comfortable spot in the playoff picture going into the back half of the split as they begin preparing for much stiffer competition in the weeks ahead.
That’s all we have for the 2020 LCS Spring Split Week 4 recap, thanks for tuning in. We’ll be back next week with a recap of Week 5 and more predictions ahead of Week 6, so stay tuned!